International Herald Leader

A Xinhua newspaper with an emphasis on international relations, especially relations between China and other countries.

Unlike other globally-focused papers (such as Global Times and Elite Reference), most of this paper's reporting is original, even if it at times is little more than a summary of how the western press reacted to a particular event in China.

The International Herald Leader's mandate to look outward put it in an awkward position in the aftermath of the Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008, when the rest of the domestic press was featuring report after hard-hitting report from Sichuan. Xiao De, an IHL reporter who's also a keen observer of the Chinese media, noted the paper's difficulties:

As in the past, when faced with domestic news, the internationally-focused media's standard article format reappeard: headlines like "The world's attention...," ".....moved the world," or "The world hailed...." all piled up, and reports on the Sichuan earthquake in the pages of the international press became an ineffective solution to the problem. This once again demonstrated how internationally-focused newspapers are on a different track than the rest of Chinese media. They're all identical: if they're not pushing ideological comparisons or inflaming nationalist passions (with Global Times the prime example), they're telling the reader, without any distinction, what happened where. Simple information transfer and exaggerated cold-war reporting are the main qualities of China's internationally-focused media today, leading to the anxiety in the face of the earthquake, so much so that you could already knew what the reports said even if you read the papers with your eyes closed.

Later, Xiao De says, the International Herald Leader was able to break this mold and report on the activities of Japanese rescue teams, international aid workers, and other "foreign" topics associated with the earthquake.

Publication license number: CN11-0049

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